How Often Do You Think about Character?

Posted on 12.06.2012

A few weeks ago, while visiting with my husband’s family for Thanksgiving, we began seriously discussing the Powerball lottery. The lottery was up to around 500 million dollars.  I didn’t realize how much fun it is to discuss what one would do with the money if one won it!  That was a fun and gratifying exercise.  A few days later, I had the opportunity to listen to a real lottery winner on television.  He shared a few thought-provoking facts:

One, he said that after he had won over 200 million dollars in the lottery, people came from everywhere to ask for money.  He received over 10,000 letters from people wanting money and thus, the post office was unable to deliver the mail to him.  Two, he said that he had a friend that he had known for 25 years refuse to speak to him after he won.  This “friend” told him to his face that he “couldn’t stand the sight of him” because the man won and this “friend” did not! Three, he stated that he now has family members who no longer speak to him at all.  He shared that he is happier now that he is a millionaire and that he has “very good people” helping him to wisely manage his money.  The last comment he made stayed with me the most.  He said that becoming a lottery winner is “like putting MiracleGro on one’s character flaws.” Having money will only accentuate one’s character traits. In other words, it becomes much more evident of what and who one is.

This interview of the lottery winner made me think about what is important about our character.  Many people had changed around the lottery winner and they were not even the winners!  Money doesn’t change us; it just brings out who we really are.  We are who we are and we cannot change for the better unless Jesus changes us.

This entire discussion causes me to think about character.  Our character really determines what we do and how we do it.  I think I would like to continue to focus on following Christ and as I do so have Him continue to work on my character!

Character refers to the moral and ethical qualities of a person and the principles by which a person lives.  It affects the reputation of an individual.  Many of us have had the pleasure of our children coming home from school excitedly as they share that they were picked for one of the Character Traits of the Month:  Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring or Citizenship!  We want to see sterling character in our children, yet do we focus on our own moral caliber as we move through each day?

In conclusion, for those of us who claim Christ, character comes with living life by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).  As we live life by the Spirit and in step with the Spirit, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  All the while, we must realize that character development also comes through our suffering in whatever form that suffering takes for each individual.  For, “we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

Character counts in every aspect of our lives—whether we are rich, poor, middle class, black, white, brown, fat, skinny, ugly or pretty.  We had better focus on our character, lest we get caught with a big unattractive and obvious spiritual flaw.